Left hamstring injury forces Clemens out until playoffs

Updated: September 26, 2007, 12:51 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Roger Clemens was scratched from his start for the New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Tampa Bay because of a lingering left hamstring injury and won't pitch for the remainder of the regular season.

Roger Clemens
Clemens

The announcement was made about four hours before game time. The team said Clemens will not pitch in the three-game series with the Devil Rays that runs through Thursday, but could throw in a simulated game.

Clemens is "confident" he will be ready for the opening round of the postseason if the Yankees qualify. New York lost to the Devil Rays 7-6 in 10 innings on Tuesday to see its magic number to clinch at least the AL wild-card spot remain at one.

"I fully expect to be out there," Clemens said. "I still think it's improving. A little swelling, but I ran quite a bit in the deep end of a pool to try and get that motion going. They're really going to try and just let it rest."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Clemens could have pitched Tuesday if it had been a must-win game.

"We're just playing it smart," Cashman said. "We're looking at the big picture, and giving it more time to heal. The point is he'll be better off with more time, and we'll go from there."

Kei Igawa was picked to replace Clemens for Tuesday night' start.

Clemens tweaked his hamstring while running Thursday. He has pitched just once since Sept. 3, sidelined at first by a tender right elbow that required two cortisone shots. The 45-year-old right-hander pitched six innings at Boston on Sept. 16, allowing an unearned run and two hits.

"He feels it just a little bit," Yankees manager Joe Tore said. "It's not too bad. It's more of doing everything he needs to do to pitch a game more than the pitching aspect of it. The running, covering first and doing all that stuff. He's still throwing, doing drills. It's feeling better, but I think the frustration comes from the fact that it's not feeling as good as he needs it to. Hopefully it continues to get better."

Torre said it's not necessary for Clemens to pitch in a game before the regular season ends, but that it probably would be important to at least see him in a simulated contest.

"If it goes backwards at all, then an October date, I would be in trouble for that," Clemens said. "I'll do enough to stay sharp until we really know what's going on as far as the playoff picture is decided."

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 17 starts and one relief appearances this season.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press